Posted by Doug on May 2, 2007
A quick analysis of this weekend's trades indicate that teams do stay pretty close to the pick value chart when exchanging picks in the same draft. For example, take a look at the second Denver/Jacksonville swap in the middle of the first round. Denver gets #17, which is worth 950 points, while Jacksonville gets #21, #86, and #198, worth a total of 972 points. Most of the other trades from day one show a similar pattern of following the chart closely. Here's a list:
High pick is the earliest pick that changed hands in the trade. Up and down represent the teams moving up and down respectively in the deal, and the pick chart value of the picks they received.
high pick up down ================================== 14 NYJ 1115 CAR 1056 17 DEN 950 JAX 972 26 DAL 700 PHI 723 33 ARI 580 OAK 604 34 BUF 560 DET 690 41 ATL 490 MIN 512 47 NYJ 430 GB 436 53 CLE 383 DAL 363 58 DET 320 NOR 294 62 DET 284 BAL 316 86 BAL 160 JAX 131
I don't know the history of the pick chart, but I assume it was built to match the market that had already been established. In other words, it seems likely that the chart is based on trades that had actually occurred.
But the vast majority of those trades occurred while one of the two teams was on the clock, and therefore both teams know exactly who is available with the pick. My strong suspicion is that Jacksonville would have been happy to make this deal on Saturday morning, while Denver would not have. The Broncos were only willing to make it because they knew for sure that a particular player --- Jarvis Moss in this case --- was available. And this is the case for most of the draft day trades.
Since the team trading up is the one with their sites on a particular guy that they now know is available, they're the team that's more likely to overpay (compared to what they would have paid 24 hours prior). But because the chart is built from historical data, this overpayment has been built right into the chart!
Really, there ought to be two charts: an on-the-clock chart and a pre-draft chart. The one we always see is the on-the-clock chart. I think it's wrong to read it as "this is the standard rate, but I should be willing to pay more to move up if I really like the guy who's available." Rather, it reflects the most that you should be willing to pay to move up. Or at least it reflects what teams have been willing to pay when they know they really like the guy who's available.